This article is written by Binyamin Katzman (of Dr. Fix It Appliance repair ) who specializes in the repair of US and European/Israeli Appliances including washers, dryers, ovens, refrigerators, and dishwashers.
Opinions in this guest blogpost are those of the author and not policies of the AACI.
So you are looking to buy a new appliance but you’re not sure what to buy? This seems to be a hot topic among new olim and prospective olim and can often be found being discussed online. The simple fact is that the choices of appliances is very different in Israel than the choices in the USA & Canada.
Some people in the planning stages before their aliyah ask, “Should we bring our old appliances or purchase new 220 American Appliances and send them on a lift? Or should we purchase Israeli and/or European Appliances?” On arrival, which appliance should you buy here? Maybe you had an American Appliance which needs replacing and you’re not sure if you should spend a small fortune locating a similar appliance here or just go with a standard Israeli/European Appliance?
To answer these and lots more questions that people are asking let’s take a brief but in depth look at the various kinds of major appliances. In this article we will be focusing on Washers and Dryers. Future articles in this series will discuss Ovens, Refrigerators, Dishwashers, etc. Lets look at the kinds of criteria you should consider when acquiring your washer and dryer.
Washing Machines & Dryers
Nowadays, a washing machine and dryer set have become appliances that we can not live without. A decade or two ago many homes in Israel often did not have dryers, but this has changed and it is rare to see a home without a dryer. This does not mean that people do not take advantage of the incredible sun we have here, especially in the summer time.
The first thing you will need to know when deciding between the standard USA/Canadian washers and dryers vs. the Israeli/European ones is what the differences are between them.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Size: The American washers and dryers have the clear advantage here. Most are about 10 Kilo (22 Pounds) and probably just what you have been used to if you are coming from America or Canada. The standard European washers and dryers are 5 kilo (11 pounds) but larger sizes such as 6 kilo, 7 kilo, and even 8 kilo are becoming more common.
Time to run a cycle: Again the standard American washers take the cake. They are much quicker. A load of washing usually takes about 30 minutes, whereas the European washers often take 1.5 hrs and more. Drying time is also considerably less with the bigger and more powerful American Dryers.
Eco (and pocketbook) Friendly: European Washing Machines use much less water than the average American ones. Generally speaking, European washers use more electricity as they heat the water and run for a longer duration, but neither are high electrical consumers. With dryers it is a bit different and more confusing. An Electric heating US Dryer uses a lot more Electricity than a European dryer, though many people opt to purchase American gas dryers which heat up via gas.
Do they heat their own water? While this may seem trivial it is worth keeping in mind that the European Washers heat their own water, so not only do they not need a hot water tap, they don’t use up precious hot water from the “dud shemesh” so you don’t need to worry about doing the laundry on a Friday afternoon when the whole family will be showering! Of course the process of heating the water takes time and this is just one of the reasons why the European machines take longer. Unless time is a major issue the European ones are the clear winner in this category.
How well do they clean the clothes? It is widely believed and accepted that European washers do a better job of cleaning the clothes. This is mostly due to the way the drum is located and therefore how it agitates or alternatively spins one way or the other. There are people who after using a European machine will never go back to an American one because of this. My personal opinion is that there likely is a small difference but American machines still do a great job of cleaning. I don’t see Americans importing too many European machines. So I would say the European washers have a slight edge here.
How well do they dry the clothes? There is also no great science to drying clothes so European dryers have no advantage here. If anything, the bigger American machines usually have much more power and dry much faster.
Washers – Quality
Last but certainly not least – Quality: No matter where your machine is made, if you are buying a new machine today the quality has almost definitely decreased since 10-20 years ago. Some of the best machines in terms of quality are the older maytag and whirlpool washers. If you can locate a used one it may very well be a great buy. (Other than these models, buying a used appliance is rarely ever a good idea, especially when we are talking about the standard European machines). In terms of new appliances, Most of the American Maytags and Whirlpools will last on average 10+ Years (please note this does not apply to some of the junk Maytag has been putting out – in particular the Neptune and Performa. STAY AWAY from these models unless you wish to be seeing me or your local friendly repair person a lot!) The Average European Machines usually average about 5 years, sometimes less. If you go with the better European brands (we will discuss this later) the average is closer to 10 years.
European Washer Brands to Avoid: Beko, and most other machines made in Turkey, China, Korea and East European countries. Stay Away. This is a general rule based on what I have seen, there are exceptions of course. In particular the quality is usually better if the machine is made by one of the better companies overseas in a cheaper labor country, though usually not quite as good as if the machine was made in its home country (i.e. AEG in Germany).
Average European Washers: Most of the Italian models are average, they are decent but not usually high quality. In many of the cases there are numerous brand names which all are made by the same company and just about exactly the same except for a knob or dial here and there. The average life of these machines is about 5 years.
Best European Washers: The best models are usually the German and French models. In particular AEG, Bosch, Siemens, and Miele. Please note that many of these are now being made in cheaper labor countries and the quality is not as good (see above). Make sure to check where the machine is actually made.
In terms of American Machines, the most common brands available here with 220 Volts are Maytag and Whirlpool. Quality wise the traditional top loading Whirlpool and Maytag models are the best. The Maytag Atlantis with a steel drum is also pretty good. Maytag Neptune and Performa models have had many problems and are to be avoided! Most of the front loading models are more similar to the European models in terms of quality and function.
Please keep in mind there are American and European Whirlpools and they are not at all the same.
Dryers – Quality:
While theoretically everything above about washers is true for dryers, there is less need to purchase a high-end model dryer, especially if it is an electric one (gas dryers are a little more complicated). The reason is that a dryer is a much simpler machine than a washer and even the cheaper brands will usually last longer considerably longer than the washers.
One final consideration
If you are considering purchasing an American washer or dryer, you must take into account a few things. First and foremost is that you will have room to place it. In many Israeli houses the space that is designated for the washer and dryer is not big enough for the larger US Appliances. Do your homework before you purchase. You also have to consider whether you will have a problem getting it in through the doorway.
For U.S. washers you will also need a separate hot water connection, often not standard in Israeli houses. If there is no hot water connection you will need to call a plumber to connect a hot water line and tap near the washer.
For Electric Dryers: You will need a special electrical outlet to be installed by a Licensed Electrician. If you live in Ma’ale Adumim, I would be happy to recommend you one. Please see more about this on the Megavolt site.
For Gas Dryers you will often need a gas technician to bring the gas line to where your dryer is as gas dryers are generally not standard here.
I am Dr Fix-It Appliance Repair. I see both junk and well-made quality appliances on a regular basis. One of the most important criteria in choosing a new appliance is quality! My name is Binyamin Katzman, an oleh vatik from the U.S., trained and certified here in Israel, who believes in providing excellent and friendly service and enjoys many repeat customers in Jerusalem and surrounding areas. If you have further questions, you may contact me at 054 6457 994 and make sure to join his facebook page facebook.com/drfixitar for monthly tips.
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